What is the best way to restore a single table from a large (~5GB) database mysqldump file?

update: I have found solutions (posted below) using command line tools to parse the table, but is there a way to do this with mysqlimport?

  • Create a new user with access to only that table and then restore it using the newly created user with --force parameter.
    – shantanuo
    Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 1:42

3 Answers 3


I have created both linux and windows scripts to restore the specific tables from the dump file:

linux (bash script):


# Where to restore


# Associative table list array as source_table=>destination_table pairs
declare -A tbl_list=( ["tbl1"]="restored_tbl1" ["tbl2"]="restored_tbl2")

for tbl in "${!tbl_list[@]}"
    echo "Restore $tbl to ${tbl_list[$tbl]}"
    # extract the content between drop table and Table structure for, also replace the table name
    sed -n -e '/DROP TABLE IF EXISTS `'$tbl'`/,/\/*!40000 ALTER TABLE `'$tbl'` ENABLE KEYS \*\/;/p' $dump_file > tbl.sql
    sed -i 's/`'$tbl'`/`'${tbl_list[$tbl]}'`/g' tbl.sql
    mysql -h $db_host -u $db_user -p"$db_pass" $db_name < tbl.sql
    rm -f tbl.sql

windows script (bat):

%= Define the database and root authorization details =% 
SETLOCAL EnableDelayedExpansion

set db_host=
set db_name=adhoctuts
set db_user=adhoctuts
set db_pass=Adhoctuts2018#

set dump_file=dump_ignore.sql

set tbl_cnt=2
set source_table[1]=tbl1
set destination_table[1]=restored_tbl1
set source_table[2]=tbl2
set destination_table[2]=restored_tbl2

set i=1
    set src=!source_table[%i%]!
    set dest=!destination_table[%i%]!
    for /f "tokens=1 delims=[]" %%a in ('find /n "DROP TABLE IF EXISTS `%src%`"^<"%dump_file%"') do set /a start=%%a
    for /f "tokens=1 delims=[]" %%a in ('find /n "ALTER TABLE `%src%` ENABLE KEYS"^<"%dump_file%"') do set /a end=%%a
    for /f "tokens=1* delims=[]" %%a in ('find /n /v ""^<"%dump_file%"') do (

    set "line=%%b "
     IF %%a geq %start% IF %%a leq %end% ECHO( !line:%src%=%dest%!

    mysql -h %db_host% -u %db_user% -p"%db_pass%" %db_name% < "tbl.sql"
    del /f "tbl.sql"
    if %i% equ %tbl_cnt% goto :eof
    set /a i=%i%+1
goto loop

here you define the tables you need to restore and under what name to restore. This the more general solution.

I have also created separate tutorial for MySQL selective/exceptional tasks. You may check if needed:




I have found two solutions, one using

grep -n "Table Structure" mydump.sql
# identify the first and last line numbers (n1 and n2) of desired table
sed -n n1,n2p mydump.sql > mytable.sql # (e.g. sed -n 48,112p)

and one using awk

awk '/Table Structure for table .table1./, /Table structure for table .cultivars./{print}' mydump.sql > mytable.sql
  • Many sysadmins that have to manhandle mysql thrive on stuff like this. +1 !!! Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 22:34
  • Neither of these work. The sed solution yields an error: sed: -e expression #1, char 6: unknown command: ',', and the awk solution yields an empty file. Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 16:11
  • 1
    Correct sed command is: sed -n n1,n2p mydump.sql > mytable.sql (e.g. sed -n 48,112p) Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 16:19
  • @CaptSaltyJack thanks for the clarification I have updated my answer Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 16:22
  • FYI -- at least with mysql Ver 14.14 Distrib 5.6.14 -- the correct grep string is actually "Table structure" (lowercase s), also fwiw, I used ack instead of grep (requires you to create an empty file so you can ack 2 separate files in order to get the line numbers displayed), and it took 69 seconds vs 866 with grep on a 52gb database dump (I had to benchmark it after I realized it was much faster).
    – Kem Mason
    Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 5:16

This approach does not get around the issue of having to import a large mysqldumpfile, but from within Mysql you can do the following:

  1. restore entire dump

     mysql fakedb < mydump.sql
  2. delete contents of current table

     delete from production.target_table;
  3. insert from backup table

    insert into production.target_table select * from fakedb.targettable;
  • 1
    For step1, make sure DROP DATABASE is not included. Otherwise, your way works for smaller databases. +1 !!! Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 22:34

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